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Industry call to ban clocking of used cars and PCP returns

Clocking of a car

A crackdown on vehicle clocking is being called for by the National Franchised Dealers Association and the National Association of Motor Auctions.

The organisations, both part of the RMI, last night lobbied Conservative MP Heather Wheeler, Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Attorney General and member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Automotive, to spread the message that the alteration of vehicle odometers poses a danger to consumers and needs to be outlawed.

Wheeler, also vice chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Insurance and Financial Services, agreed to look further into the issue of clocking, which is promoted online by more than 70 UK mileage correction firms.

She said that while the Conservative government aims to reduce regulation, it will not stand for fraud.

At the meeting in London last night, the NFDA’s Louise Wallis said members were concerned that clocking is on the rise.

Driving this is the availability of such services through online search, and growth in PCPs based on a maximum annual mileage, which may lead some consumers who exceed their limit to seek mileage adjustment in order to avoid penalty fees, she said.

“Clocking shows no sign of going away,” she said. “The law definitely needs to be changed.”

Its illegality at the moment is only in selling a vehicle with a lower mileage without telling the buyer that the mileage should be higher, with prosecutions of traders under consumer protection laws.

The NFDA would like the practice of mileage adjustment banned outright, as it already has been in the United States and the Republic of Ireland.

“Trading Standards and the police need to take a harder line on this,” Wallis added.

The NFDA, and other industry parties including provenance check firm HPI and valuations firm Glass’s, have suggested that the current fragmented gathering of data is an issue.

HPI's managing director Neil Hodson said its data shows one in 20 vehicles has some kind of mileage discrepancy.

Legitimate reasons to alter a vehicle's mileage are rare, such as replacement of an odometer or engine, but the 70+ mileage correction firms use these as a reason for being.

HPI, Glass's and the NFDA are also concerned that the equipment to alter a vehicle's digital odometer is freely available to purchase on the internet.

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